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Willie Nelson Reveals Details About Friendships with Snoop Dogg and Jimmy Carter’s Son

Photo Credit: Brett Coomer/ Houston Chronicle/ Hearst Newspapers/ Getty Images/ Cropped
Photo Credit: Brett Coomer/ Houston Chronicle/ Hearst Newspapers/ Getty Images/ Cropped

Many rock ‘n roll stars die too far young. Fortunately for us, that’s not the case with the legendary singer Willie Nelson. In his late 80s, he’s still performing live for audiences around the world. Now looking back on his earlier life and career, he’s recounted some of his wilder escapades, like smoking with Snoop Dogg in Amsterdam and lighting up at the White House with an unlikely friend.

Music career

Willie Nelson has no shortage of projects to work on, despite the fact that he’s turning 90 in 2023. Not only will he be having a truly spectacular birthday bash to celebrate, featuring stars like Neil Young and Tom Jones, but he’s still actively performing himself. In fact, in March 2023, he released his 98th studio album which is titled I Don’t Know a Thing About Love. As musicians typically do following a new release, Nelson will be going on tour.

Willie Nelson sitting on stage playing a guitar wearing a black shirt and a cowboy hat.
Willie Nelson performs at the Autism Speaks Light Up The Blues 6 Concert, April 22, 2023. (Photo Credit: Harmony Gerber/ Getty Images)

The Outlaw Music Festival Tour will travel across the United States throughout the summer of 2023. Earlier in the year, the documentary Willie Nelson & Family also premiered. Overall, the early months of this year have been incredibly successful and busy, as he was nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. In the wake of these accomplishments, Nelson has been speaking to the press, giving them interesting details about his life.

Smoking with Snoop

One of these surprising facts is that Nelson found a longtime friend in another musical artist, Snoop Dogg. The rapper and the country singer bonded over their love of Mary Jane, even collaborating on the songs “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” and “My Medicine.” In an interview with Yahoo EntertainmentNelson said of Snoop, “He’s a good friend (…) We just kind of liked each other right away.” The veteran artist was traveling to Amsterdam so he invited his new friend to come along.

Willie Nelson in a blue vest with his arms crossed, and his hair in two braids.
Willie Nelson at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, June 18, 1980. (Photo Credit: Paul Harris/ Getty Images)

Nelson’s concert fell on 4/20, a cause for celebration. Snoop said in an interview that they went back to Nelson’s room and started playing dominos while they smoked. Like a true pro, Nelson didn’t lighten up and Snoop went along with it because he didn’t “wanna show no signs of weakness.” He said that this was the highest he’s ever been in his life: “This old [dude’s] outsmoking me.”

Influencing the First Son

Nelson also talked to Yahoo about his late-night smoke sessions with another unlikely companion, Jimmy Carter‘s son, James Earl “Chip” Carter III. He had been invited to stay at the White House during the Carter administration, where he bonded with the president’s son in an unusual way. Nelson said that Chip came to get him from his room and took him up to the roof of the White House.

Willie Nelson and Jimmy Carter smiling with their arms around each other on stage.
Willie Nelson is joined on stage by former President Jimmy Carter, who played harmonica on “Georgia on My Mind,” at Chastain Park Amphitheater, July 27, 2008. (Photo Credit: Rick Diamond/ WireImage/ Getty Images)

He said, “And then we had a joint, we burned it down, and then went downstairs and bowled.” Although he talked about this experience in his 1998 memoir, he said it was an anonymous staffer that joined him. It wasn’t until Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President was released that Carter himself confirmed, “It was actually one of my sons.” Nelson had kept it a secret because he didn’t want this revelation to “categorize [Chip] as a pot-smoker like him.”

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As it turned out, the former president and Nelson became close friends. “Jimmy Carter is one of the best people that even came to the Earth,” said Nelson. “He has done so much good, and has tried to do good, every year that I’ve known him.”

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Rosemary Giles

Rosemary Giles is a history content writer with Hive Media. She received both her bachelor of arts degree in history, and her master of arts degree in history from Western University. Her research focused on military, environmental, and Canadian history with a specific focus on the Second World War. As a student, she worked in a variety of research positions, including as an archivist. She also worked as a teaching assistant in the History Department.

Since completing her degrees, she has decided to take a step back from academia to focus her career on writing and sharing history in a more accessible way. With a passion for historical learning and historical education, her writing interests include social history, and war history, especially researching obscure facts about the Second World War. In her spare time, Rosemary enjoys spending time with her partner, her cats, and her horse, or sitting down to read a good book.